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Microsoft Details a Bit of Windows Phone 8.1, Will Run on Existing Snapdragon-powered Android Hardware

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While we may not be the biggest fans of Windows Phone at DL, this news affects many folks who like to enjoy a taste of everything from different companies. This week at MWC, Microsoft listed out a few details for the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 release, stating that the OS could be flashed to any existing Android hardware, as long as it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400, or 400 LTE chipset. 

While the idea is great for consumers, Microsoft wanted to make sure users were aware that dual-booting the two would be unsupported, though. And for those looking to pull some ROM flashing trickery through developer forums, Microsoft also said that would not be possible.

In addition to just running on Android hardware, Windows Phone 8.1 would bring support for moving applications to an SD card, which is important for budget devices with less onboard storage. Microsoft also announced that 8.1 would remove the requirement for hardware to feature capacitive buttons and a dedicated physical camera button, meaning that Windows Phone will now support onscreen buttons. If you ask us Android-lovin’ folk, that’s a step in the right direction.

Windows Phone 8.1 is scheduled for launch sometime this Spring, with Microsoft’s Build conference happening on April 2.

Via: PC Mag
  • Paul Kelly

    MS wasted too much time with the Phone/RT split. now are playing catchup but i think they will merge Phone/RT and it will be a very good OS.Dual boot would be nice but in the end you would need to choose one or you would end up forever switching which would be annoying

  • Zahid ♥ AIna

    I hope..in future windows phone can be use an androids apps games…so lumia can be famous than other android models…

  • aryan

    You can’t flash. Windows phone 8.1 on android mobiles…..what Microsoft mean is that OEM can produce window phone 8.1 running mobiles in low end hardware i.e. Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400, or 400 LTE chipset, etc…..means using the same hardware in which most of low end androids are running……

  • TylerCameron

    What about Snapdragon 600 and 800… Seriously, there’s very few devices with a Snapdragon 200 or 400. I have never even heard of the Snapdragon 200. Most devices have a 600 and 800 -.-
    I’m proud that Microsoft would be that open, but they’re limiting Windows Phone to Running on a very small handful of devices…

  • hoosiercub88

    Hmm, I’d give it a shot on my Nexus 7 2013 if the devs find a way to make it work on an S4 Pro chipset.

  • chris_johns

    i love microsoft…never understood the hate from android users(besides windows hate for android which as always been more funny then anything bc of their failures) youd think that the enemy of my enemy would be my friend? (eh hem apple)…anyways i love my rig i built at home running windowss 8.1 and the seamless connection with my xbox one its really great i love downloading movies and just jumpin in bed n playin right ot my tv n then jumping in a lil bf with the fellas…anyways phone/tablet wise im an android guy and always will be but windows phone is a nice fluid little ui…its just far to simple for us android guys
    but in regards to this…if i can flash this on any my phones id def give a try

  • http://www.JWesCampbell.com/ Wes Campbell

    And for those looking to pull some ROM flashing trickery through developer forums, Microsoft also said that would not be possible.

  • Aardvark99

    Great for us mobile developers. I’m more likely to have an extra android phone I could dedicate to Windows phone then I would buy standalone device. I suppose serious native app development would need “real” phones, but for prototypes, testing, and web development this would be great. (especially if I could easily flash the device back and forth from Android and Windows)

  • yummy

    He said, “Step in the right addiction..’,

    Hehe he hehehe.

    I choose Ben n Jerrys!

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    Yea, if phone makers and your carrier didn’t lock the bootloader, you might be able to do that … but I think it’s far from the end of the story. How about all the other stuffs that aren’t part of the Snapdragon chipset, such as the driver for the camera?

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    Although MS is claiming this is an OEM-only option, it’s pretty obvious they’re headed towards allowing anyone with supported hardware to install WP8.1 on their device. They just can’t say it explicitly, or Google would put a stop to it. MS is doing with WP8.1 what Google should have done with Android a LONG time ago: create a universal build that runs on all (ARM) phones a la Windows and x86 machines.

  • jonzey231

    I would really love a list of supported devices!

  • mort

    Honestly, if I were to try another OS, it’d be Sailfish or Ubuntu. Especially Ubuntu if it were on high end hardware because when docked it runs the regular desktop Ubuntu OS. I’m a fan of the whole convergence thing. If you really need to, you could technically run a desktop app while not docked (may need some under the hood toggling of switches).

  • Tim242

    LoL @ Windows Mobile. Tato….

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      Sorry for getting it wrong! :)

      • Tim242

        As always, you are forgiven haha

  • flosserelli

    Pffft…who cares about putting WP on an Snapdragon device. But I wouldn’t mind flashing CM on a Lumia 1025.

    • jimt

      Now your talking, someone should try that!

    • Cory_S

      The only reason to do that would be to have an Android phone with that fantastic camera. Being that camera would perform like crap (if at all) on any cruddy Android open source camera software…I’m not sure why someone would try.

  • KatsumeBlisk

    If Microsoft would sell licenses like they do with desktop Windows, this might be successful. I’d try it out if I could run it on my hardware. I understand that it’s a lot harder to do than desktop OSes though.

    • jimt

      Free would be too much, actually. I guess one might play with it on an old phone, maybe. I guess that is what Microsoft wants people to do. Go figure.

      • KatsumeBlisk

        This isn’t what Microsoft wants to do. This is for OEMs to ship WIndows Phone variants of their Android devices. I’m talking about letting the consumer flash Windows Phone.

  • Kyle Lunde

    I have officially pulled the trigger on a windows phone (lumia 1520) and I love how smooth the UX is. Don’t get me wrong I still have my Nexus 7 2013 at home. But The windows phone experience has been more and more palatable. My wife got her 1020 last year and I honestly was unimpressed. A generation old chipset and limited app availability… well now with the apps market growing as much as it has in such a short period of time and nokia dropping the snapdragon 800 in the 1520 and icon it got me interested (being the spec crazy person i am). The tiles take some getting used to but they are pretty cool once you set them up how you like them. Having Cortana as a voice assistant when 8.1 comes out will be pretty awesome too.

    • Not Bionic

      The 1520 is one sexy device. Only reason I never got is I’m stuck with Verizon…which is not a bad thing but the best Window’s devices are always on AT&T. Verizon leverages their power too much against Nokia and kills the design with boxy ones like the 928 and the Icon.

      • Kyle Lunde

        I watched some hands on videos with the ICON. That is a good looking phone in my opinion. That is really where android manufactures are falling short… The GS5 looks like it’s made from the material they would make a chair for a public restroom out of…

        • Not Bionic

          Not all android manufacturers are as bad as Samsung though when it comes to design. HTC really stepped up their game with the One X and the Moto X is nicely designed.

          Meanwhile Sammy still thinks shiny plastic belongs on a flagship device. smh

          • Tim242

            Have you seen the Note 3 or S5? No shiny plastic there.

          • hoosiercub88

            Don’t be silly, people are blind. Samsung phones could be made of out a solid unibody piece of aluminum, and people would still think it’s crap. Just because it’s a Samsung phone.

        • Tim242

          They make chairs out of glass? Oh, you’re talking about the soft touch plastic that makes up the back of most phones.

          • Kyle Lunde

            Actually it’s the gross dimpled pattern on the back of this specific model

          • Tim242

            I held the phone today. The dimples aren’t as visible as the up close pics show. It’s a lot like the glitter of the N4…not as pronounced as pics depict.

          • Kyle Lunde

            I should give it a chance and see it in person first

          • hoosiercub88

            Nobody complained about it whenever they did the back of the original Nexus 7, in fact.. it was praised. What the hell is the difference.. oh yeah, it’s a Samsung.

          • WickedToby741

            The Nexus 7 was $200. People are more willing to compromise on materials at $200 as opposed to $650.

          • hoosiercub88

            People didn’t compromise, people praised how good it felt. I hear all this hate on “cheap plastic, but my Moto X is made of plastic, nobody complains about it, The LG G2 is plastic, The Nexus 5 is plastic, and all other Galaxy S devices up to this point had a hard polycarbonate back. Why is Samsung the one that catches all the heat. I’m not sure what you people want? Leather? It tears. Metal? Bad for wireless radio reception/gps/glonass/etc. Glass? Duh.

            I guess you people prefer phones be made of some magical unobtainium that doesn’t exist. All of the people I’ve actually talked to that have been lucky enough to hold a GS5 have said it feels very premium and good in the hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bryanmounce Bryan

      Just curious: what was it about the 1020 that was unimpressive? I’m hoping to get a new phone with an awesome camera, and I have been looking at the 1020, especially now that the Galaxy S5 was less than impressive.

      • Tim242

        All phones from here on out will be unimpressive to most people on this blog. We’re on a tech plateau. Get used to it.

      • Kyle Lunde

        The camera is great, the hardware (processor and screen specifically) are the unimpressive parts. Also at the time the app selection was pretty bad. I’ve been rather impressed with the growth. I honestly don’t have any good reason why you shouldn’t get the 1020. The OS runs very well on the hardware it has.

        • hero

          do you know – will the 1020 be upgradable to windows phone 8.1? i assume your 1520 and the icon will be given they both have snapdragon 800s

  • Mike

    Windows Phone =/= Windows Mobile…you guys are having a real hard time with accuracy today.

    • The Narrator

      Please, enlighten us.

      • JSo

        I think he’s saying they are referring to it as Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile was their old operating system. Microsofts current OS is called Windows Phone.

        • The Narrator

          Should be easy for anyone to know if they so Mobile, it means Phone. No big deal.

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            But it’s like calling the iPod Touch, iTouch. Yeah people will probably know what you mean by “iTouch,” but it’s wrong.

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            Not really the iPod touch reference. It’s more like calling WebOS, PALM OS. Same company, completely different OSes

          • Tim242

            Not the sane at all. iTouch is just an incorrect name. Windows Mobile was an entirely different OS that has been extinct for many years.

          • The Narrator

            Why does it matter? People call Mustangs, a Mustang. Not 2015 Shelby Mustang bblah blah blah

          • James

            It’s STILL a Mustang.

            and you’d be surprise. People still refer to their mustangs as Mustangs, GTs, BOSS, Shelby etc.

            Windows Mobile is no longer a brand and therefor you don’t use that name.

          • Guest

            Expect in this case.

          • James

            What a world of difference .

            See @disqus_Ov0xXT7Yc4:disqus

          • DRaY

            i miss the old girl, Windows Mobile was one of my favorites… my Cingular 8125, my HTC Touch … oh good times… Warfare INc, Pacman , bubble breaker, msn messenger, skype….mp3’s and avi’s on my 8gig sd card….it was ahead of its time.

          • David Gray

            I had the Samsung Omnia with custom built WM6.5 rom, 8 gb built in and 8 gb sd card. Even had an optical mouse built into the home button!

          • Tim242

            Once again, you are clueless. Do you even know what Windows Mobile is? Let me enlighten you. It was desktop windows on a mobile device. It is in no way the same as Windows phone.

          • James

            He is just as bad as Chris.

          • The Narrator

            You are Chris. You can’t fool us.

          • Tim242

            You are Fry. You can’t fool us

          • Bionic

            Fry? It’s Tyler Durden…

            How are the vegan restaurants around your area?

          • Tim242

            Not as good as they could be. But, I do live in the meat-hungry south.

          • Bionic

            Tough place to be a vegan. Should come out west :P

          • James

            @disqus_Ov0xXT7Yc4:disqus is Philip J. Fry or just Fry?

            Same person perhaps?

          • James

            Fry did +1 his comment

          • Tim242

            Haha too funny. That’s a dead giveaway.

          • James

            Why would I be Chris if I said you are just as bad as Chris? Why would I put my self down like that?

          • The Narrator

            Never did i say it was the same. I said I’m sure people know that they’re talking about. Telling them they are having a hard time with accuracy is a bit ridiculous too.

          • Tim242

            There have been several errors today. Windows Phone should never be referred to as Windows Mobile on a tech site. That would be like calling WebOS, Palm OS and expect people to guess which one they are referring to.

          • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

            Can’t all of you just shut up and get back on topic? These comments are supposed to be about how dumb I am for getting WM and WP mixed up, not you bickering up pointless crap. Enough. If I see anymore, it’s hammer for any/everyone. You’re bringing down the value of our comments. Please and thank you!

          • MrOrange645

            I wish I could up vote you a hundred times, Tim.

          • Tim242

            I’m pretty sure the comment you replied to was about the WM vs WP issue at hand. The value of these comments has been in the hole for a while. Arguing is 90% of what goes on here.

          • michael arazan

            Thank You

          • James

            If it was 2006

    • Kyle Wiggers

      Fixed. ty

      • Mike

        Thanks Kyle. Ban this moronic Narrator guy while you’re at it.

        • James

          Please do. He’s a disgrace to the Android community and to humanity as a whole.

      • Cory_S

        Actually, you still missed one :P

  • Craig P

    Windows Phone 8.1 actually looks appealing.

  • jimt

    I have it for free and won’t invest the time to install it on a spare drive.

  • duke69111

    I give the guys and gals at XDA 2-3 days before they have a fully functional port and maybe even dual booting.

    • JWort93

      It does work on the Snapdragon 800, in fact both the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 1520 already have the Snapdragon 800. The snapdragon models listed in the article are newly supported Snapdragon models.

    • WickedToby741

      I think the Droid Life article is misleading. The chipsets listed are newly supported with WP8.1, but WP already supports the 800 & 600.The reason being able to deploy WP on existing Android handsets (by OEMs) is new that Microsoft added support for on screen navigation buttons and removed the requirement to have a dedicated camera shutter button. The idea is that OEMs don’t have to develop separate hardware for WP, giving them less of a reason to not use WP in some capacity.

  • calculatorwatch

    Too bad there’s no dual-booting option. I would love to try out Windows 8 every once in a while, but if you’re asking me to give up my Android for it it’s not gonna happen.

    • Gideon Waxfarb

      Yeah, if you could do the Android/Windows Phone equivalent of a Hackintosh, it might encourage more of us to try it out.

      • hero

        yea but it’s a step in the right addiction at least. it makes sense and is clever as hell

        • hero

          *direction

    • Weress1057

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    • JBartcaps

      It’s like taking ten steps backwards from either iOS or Android. Severely lacking in a lot of categories.

  • Alex Boro

    Great for moto g owners. Hope my moto x gets supported.

    • WickedToby741

      A lot of people are taking this the wrong way. This isn’t for existing devices in the market or something that consumer will be able to do. This is an option they’re extending to OEMs, not consumers, to reduce the burden on OEMs of developing WP devices. Basically, you’d be able tot choose your OS prior to purchasing the device. As far as I know, they’re not tossing WP into the market to consumers ala Ubuntu Touch and saying “here you go, have fun.”

  • bratliff

    I’ve been tempted to pick up a 928 and tinker.. See what I think of it.. I like the surface well enough.. Just haven’t pulled the trigger yet

  • jimt

    Too bad those tiles are ugly.

  • JSo

    That seems odd. Why would Microsoft even acknowledge being able to instal it on an android device? Is this another attempt to get more users? And no dual boot? I’m sure there is a dev out there thinking “Challenge accepted.”

    • WickedToby741

      Not more users, more manufacturers. Why would an OEM pay more to develop a separate device for Windows Phone, an OS hardly setting the world on fire, and then pay Microsoft licensing fees to use it? Now it makes a little more sense because they can repurpose existing devices (I’m sure there are WP users pining for a WP HTC One or Moto X). It would make even more sense if Microsoft makes the licensing free like they’re rumored to.

      • jimt

        It would have to be free, who would pay for it? Microsoft wants to get people “hooked” on it, if that is possible.

        • WickedToby741

          I mean free for OEMs. OEMs currently pay a licensing fee to make Windows Phone handsets. Hence why no one wants to make them.

          • Daistaar

            I thought they made it free when they acquired Nokia. Considering HTC and Nokia were the main two paying for licensing and 90 percent of that went away with acquisition, I thought they dropped the licensing fee. I think Lenovo and Intel will be good contributors to Windows Phone 8.1.

          • hero

            yea they did, virtually. they’re paying oems to put windows phone on their devices mainly Samsung and htc i think. that and this new windows phone 8.1 feature are about one thing, marketshare. that’s been microsofts goal for a long time, with everything, and so far it’s worked

            also look out for asus and Intel to be serious partners/contributors to windowsphone 8.1

        • michael arazan

          Except Microsoft wants to License out the OS for every device. Making the devices cost moire

    • michael arazan

      I really like the dual boot idea, I’d love to get the laptop with android tablet and full windows on the keyboard and can use the screen as a detachable tablet or hook up the keyboard to any monitor, but they wanted $1300, for the price it is not worth it considering the hardware out there you can get for 1300

  • The Narrator

    Noooooo

    • jimt

      Microsoft doesn’t care about how well it runs.

      Is the program out there for free or does one need a license?

      • The Narrator

        I goofed lol

      • WickedToby741

        If I’m understanding it correctly, it has nothing whatsoever to do with users being able to install WP on Android devices. This is for manufacturers so that they no longer have to design separate devices for WP and Android. WP previously required unique capacitive keys (back button, Windows button, and search button) and a dedicated camera button. Those restrictions have been lifted, with on screen buttons as an option to replace capacitive keys.

        Take HTC as an example. Now that they’re about to make the switch to on screen buttons for the new One, they can ship a version of the new One, without changing a single thing about the hardware, with WP8.1. An even better example would be Motorola now that they’re under Lenovo control (obviously a Google owned Motorola would never experiment with a Microsoft OS). For the next gen Moto X, OS choice could become just one extra step in the customization process.

        Same device, same specs, different installed OS. Any manufacturer that you can name that uses on screen buttons and Qualcomm processors could theoretically ship those same Android devices with only the OS changed. It’s a lot like Google Play Editions. Think of them as Windows Phone Editions.

  • jimt

    Now only if it wasn’t windows 8.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Windows Phone 8.1*

      • jimt

        Tiles is tiles

  • EC8CH

    Kinda puts Windows Mobil in the same league as CyanogenMod.

    • WickedToby741

      I don’t think so. See my reply to jimt above for a more in depth description, but from all indications this is for OEMs, not consumers.

      The best comparison I can think to make is to Google Play Editions; same phone, same hardware, stock Android instead of skinned Android. Except in this case it’d be like a Windows Phone Edition (I’ll abbreviate it as WPE): same phone, same hardware, WP8.1 instead of Android.

      So imagine being able to order a WPE HTC One or LG G2 or to be able to select between Android or WP8.1 when customizing your Moto X.